Predictions? Uh oh.
Full disclosure time. I have a formerly secret life - one I'm trying to let die away quietly. I read for a handful of clients. I mention this in relation to making predictions NOT because I think my predictions will carry any more weight. Noooo. You see, I've learned something really important by reading for other people. It's this:
Never ask a question you don't really want the answer to.
The answers, whether for good or for ill, can be crushing. As a result, I never, ever ask what's going to happen with my writing in the coming year (when I'm reading for myself). I ask what I should focus on - what I should work on for the coming year. I recommend that strategy. It puts you in the driver's seat and it gives you something to work toward. Asking what's going to happen and getting a crappy answer is paralyzing. Getting a favorable answer seems to absolve people of feeling like they have to actually do the work - because their good result is FATED. Yeah. Well. See, how this works is, you pray to get what you want, and then you work like hell going after what you want. Until the restraining order is served.
On to predictions:
Look. I'm nobody. My degree is acting, for heaven's sake. I should be walking around the streets with a hand painted sandwich board that reads: Change is the only constant! Should you stop to listen to my wild-eyed raving, I might whisper this:
I have seen the saturation of the YA market (which we all know is a death knell): it's messy with "Harry Potter meets Alien" tag lines.
Strident voices will continue to insist that only morons aren't self-publishing in this market. Equally strident voices will insist that only publishing houses are the True Authorial Path to legitimacy. Both will go on being wrong.
Regardless of the economy, despite industry changes, mergers, lines collapsing, new ones forming and contracts of dubious quality, authors will go on selling books.
If you've stayed long enough to hear my predictions, I'll wrap a claw like hand around your arm and tell you that YOUR job doesn't change. No matter what. Write. Doesn't matter what. Doesn't matter for whom. If the story and the characters matter to you, they will matter to someone else, too. Eventually. If at first your story doesn't succeed, try again. And again. Start putting in your 10,000 hours, one hour at a time. Your one million words. Whatever benchmark means you've attained some mastery of your craft. But write. Because if you don't, the rest of your questions about the state of the industry are meaningless.